There’s just one match left to go in Season 2 of the V10 R-League, and it’s the one nobody wants to compete in.
Beaten semi-finalists Team Redline and McLaren Shadow finally come together this season, to contest the 3rd-place playoff match. Despite the potential non-competitive edge to the match, a bigger share of the £120,000 prize fund is up for grabs - so it’s still worth winning.
Here’s how the teams got on.
Team Redline: Enzo Bonito, Michal Smidl, Jeffrey Rietveld
McLaren Shadow: James Baldwin, Isaac Gillisen, Elvin Smith
Team Redline and McLaren Shadow took to Silverstone for the first relay race of the day.
James Baldwin got the jump on Enzo Bonito at the start as the McLaren driver displayed his excellent skill off the line. Baldwin then needed to go defensive through Luffield as Bonito attempted a bold overtaking move around the outside.
Still desperately pursuing Baldwin, Bonito got it all wrong as the two cars turned into the high-speed Stowe corner. The Italian slid off the track after losing control of his car and collided with the barrier; allowing Baldwin and McLaren to race ahead into a huge lead.
Bonito entered the pits to switch places with Michal Smidl ahead of Lap 2, while Baldwin carried on before swapping with Isaac Gillissen. By the time Jeffrey Rietveld took to the track for Redline, they were still trailing McLaren by six seconds.
However, despite all their good work, there was suddenly confusion in the air for McLaren. Elvin Smith found himself locked out in the pitlane after Gillissen handed him the baton - ultimately handing Redline the race lead.
While McLaren were over one minute behind, Rietveld came through to win the first point for Redline.
Having thrown away a guaranteed point in the relay, McLaren were looking to fight back in the team race.
Baldwin raced off the start line from pole position with Bonito, Rietveld and Smidl on his tail. McLaren pair Smith and Gillissen were at the back, with Smith struggling with his car’s handling.
By Lap 4, McLaren had a healthy lead with Baldwin, but he needed his teammates to challenge Redline. But, despite some small mistakes from Rietveld, Redline were holding firm in 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
As the drivers crossed the finish line, Baldwin took the win. However, with the points secured by Redline, the race finished as a tie at 13-13. As a result, neither McLaren nor Redline secured a point here.
Redline still led the match 1-0 overall as the teams moved from Silverstone to Yas Marina.
Just like in Silverstone, the relay race opened with Baldwin facing Bonito - and the McLaren star was typically fast off the line. He led into Lap 1 with Bonito behind, although this time the Italian managed to keep his Redline on the track before entering the pits.
Unfortunately, Bonito was caught speeding in the pitlane and Redline were given a five second time penalty. This heaped the pressure on Smidl and Rietveld to close the gap.
McLaren, though, could relax. By the final lap, Smith was four seconds ahead of the pursuing Redline of Rietveld - nine seconds overall. He kept it clean to come through and win them their first point of the day.
Baldwin the Best
Sensing a win was on the cards for McLaren, Baldwin rocketed into the lead from pole position of the team race. By turn one, he was already well ahead of the rest of the pack.
While the Brit controlled the race from the front, there was plenty happening behind him; Bonito and Smith began to exchange overtakes, before coming together on the exit of turn nine. While Bonito was able to carry on, Smith was spun 180 degrees - and rejoined dead last.
On Lap 4, Smidl was beginning to gain on Baldwin - with less than a second between the pair. But the McLaren man was able to keep calm and focussed on the final lap to fend off his Redline rival and take the win.
That gave McLaren the edge in the match; having trailed 1-0 after Silverstone, back-to-back wins in Yas Marina meant they won 2-1!
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